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A Conversation With Fear


Part One,
“The Moment of Fear”

Chapter 1
“Meeting the Moment”

Page 3


cliffs rose on each side of the stream. We hiked to a flat ledge that jutted high above a narrow, deep pool where the water gathered itself up for a moment. It had been a couple of years since I had jumped. Scott, my sweetheart, took off his clothes and stood at the edge, comfortable in his nakedness. I watched him look down—for longer than a moment—before he leapt. A long silence and then a splash. We heard him surface, sputtering, hooting and hollering. The fall was long and the water was cold! He shot out of the pool and scrambled onto the rocks below, dancing the cold away. Then he crooked his neck up, waiting for us. He looked tiny down there, his skin a bright, fragile white against the shades of gray. Henry then followed his path out to the edge and jumped. My friend, Cece, also once fearless, was now scared. I told her I would go first. I took off my clothes and stood where rock and air met. The pool looked far away, black and small, the size of a puddle, of a quarter. There were rocky outcroppings everywhere, and huge upturned slabs of granite. Across from me, a small maple clung by its roots to a rock face, no more than three feet high with just a few leaves hanging. I had the thought, What if I miss? My feet got hot on the ledge. I backed up. Then I tried again. The boys yelled from below. Words of encouragement, words of instruction, words. I backed up again. Back and forth, back and forth. I stood at the edge, I even said “Yes!” and went—or almost went, but even within that instant, I pulled myself back.

That moment of push-off had changed. It was no longer just a flash of time that I could rush through unconsciously. That day, it introduced itself to me; it revealed its nature. I was pushed, I was pulled. The moment was energized. I kept banging against a wall inside of it. Three-dimensional. I held my stomach feeling sick, both viscerally and emotionally under its power. Grips body AND soul, makes them indistinguishable. With my feet, I reached again for the edge of the rock…air. To leave the safety of the ledge

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